The Federal Communications Commission is charged with regulating the nation’s technology and telecommunications industries. But in house, the commission’s own equipment is so deficient that its leader came to Congress this week pleading for an upgrade.
“We just simply cannot go on this way,” the visibly frustrated FCC chairman told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday.
At hearings this week before the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that handle his agency’s budget, Chairman Tom Wheeler told Congress that the FCC needs $13.5 million to upgrade its “antiquated” technology system.
Vulnerability to cyberattacks is a top concern for Wheeler. For example, many of the FCC’s computers still use Windows XP, the 13-year-old operating system that Microsoft is ending support for on April 8.
“As a result of my being here today … we will see a precipitous increase in the amount of attacks on the FCC website,” Wheeler said Thursday. “If we have responsibility for the economic engine of the 21st century, we can’t be sitting here … exposed as we are.”
The outdated technology is also a drag on the agency’s efficiency.
Improving the agency’s efficiency and accountability is a high priority for Congress and the new chairman, and even Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai agreed that the sorry state of its IT makes it difficult to achieve those goals.
According to Wheeler, the agency has more than 200 different computer systems and 40 percent of its technology is at least 10 years old. Money not spent on upgrades next year will be spent within two years on expensive maintenance.
Citing his long career in the private sector, Wheeler said, “There is not a business in America that would put up with this.”
What We're Following See More »
In a New York Magazine profile, Hillary Clinton said she still encounters misogyny at her own events: “‘I really admire you, I really like you, I just don’t know if I can vote for a woman to be president.’ I mean, they come to my events and then they say that to me.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "One of the things that I’m hoping, I and my colleagues have been trying to convince Senator Marco Rubio to run again in Florida. He had indicated he was not going to, but we’re all hoping that he’ll reconsider, because poll data indicates that he is the one who can win for us. He would not only save a terrific senator for the Senate, but help save the majority. ... Well, I hope so. We’re all lobbying hard for him to run again."
Former Attorney General Eric Holder said that NSA leaker Edward Snowden "actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made" by releasing information about government surveillance. Holder, a guest on David Axelrod's "Axe Files" podcast, also said Snowden endangered American interests and should face consequences for his actions.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, needing an improbable comeback to take the nomination from Hillary Clinton, showed up to the Warriors' Game 7 in Oakland during a break in California campaigning. "Let's turn this thing around," he told the San Francisco Chronicle's Joe Garofoli.